Denali - 09-04-2010 -

The news no one has been looking forward too...
On Saturday 09-04-2010 we made the tough decision to give Denali the final rest she deserved. A few months ago Denali suffered a grand mal seizure. The vet concluded, after some tests, family history, and blood work, that Denali had a brain tumor. Denali slowly became less and less the Denali that everyone loved. It was hard for me to notice as she was always Denali to me, and her degradation was so gradual. It was, and is, hard for me to realize that it wasn't just her getting old, that it was more serious than that. However, looking back at pictures of her has helped Terri and me realize that she was not herself over the past few months and weeks. We said that when we could no longer see "Denali" we knew it was time to let her go, to let her see again and chase rocks and frisbees to her hearts content.
I don't think Denali ever failed to win over people with her awesomeness. Upon first reactions, her crazy scruffy fur, large pointy ears (unnatural for a Jack Russell), and after she went blind her uncomfortably large eyes at times, made most people question her awesomeness. But the tricks, oh the tricks, and the sheer joy and pleasure she got from performing them for people, quickly won them over. Any one of her incredible tricks could have been the deciding factor, a simple sit, or down, the slightly more skillful roll-over (in either direction), or the crawl, the ever popular "dead-dog" (when she could see you could just point a "finger gun" and she'd do it usually needing the sound effect), or the more complicated 360 (we never did get the jumping 360 down), maybe the polite shake, then there was her ability to shut the door on command, or the ever popular "kangaroo". But most likely, the trick that won everyone over, was her performance grand finale, the "Pounce". She'd rear-back with crazy energy and visible tension, waiting for the go ahead, the final command "POUNCE" and she'd leap into the air (reconstructed patella and all), all 4 paws hovering in the air to land 4' away on the ball, or treat, or frisbee, or rock, or whatever. For those that have seen this trick, you know what I'm talking about.
Oh, and she did these tricks just as well blind as she did when she could see. Really, the only thing she couldn't do blind was catch frisbees out of the air. But that didn't stop her from chasing them across the ground or waiting to hear them hit the ground. Denali could find snowballs thrown into a foot of snow, or a specific rock thrown into the water on the shore of a lake. When she could see, she would not hesitate to jump off a dock, go completely submerged, and bring back a frisbee.
But beyond her crowd pleasing tricks, Denali was just an incredible companion. When I got her she went everywhere with me, even to some classes (she was a big hit in my Japanese class). She came with me to the climbing gym, camping, biking, longboarding. When I couldn't bring her, she had incredible friends that I don't think minded watching her one bit. Although I remember one time Alison (I think) gave her like a pound of raw bacon to win Denali's love. I think it worked, but one dog treat would have sufficed.
We will miss her as she was truly one of kind. Knowing that she's no longer in pain, does not make it any easier for me, but it was the best thing for her. Denali was fighter, knee surgery when she was 1, going blind when she was 3, among other near death experiences, I know she would have fought well beyond her time.
We can all picture her chasing down frisbees, and pouncing on rocks, back to her usual antics and with full sight now...Denali will be forever loved.
What memories do you have, what were your favorite things about Denali?


  1. Where do I start??? Denali taught me so much about life. She just went on through life with gusto even through her obstacles. When you turn 1 you have knee surgery OK I can still run OK, when you turn 3 you go blind OK I can still chase and run and do tricks and loose my balls (much easier to loose when you are blind) and then Mom or Dad have to come and get it for me. She would chase a frisbee to exhaustion (me not her) even when blind. She loved to shake a piece of sheep fleece and see how many things she could knock over with it or how high she could make it go. She is chasing now with Carma and Gabi. She has good companions in those two.

  2. I remember trying to pin her ears down with clothes pin when she was a puppy so they wouldn't stick up. That was a lost cause. And mean...
    Even after she went blind and I hadn't seen her for awhile, she would still get very excited when I would see her because she never forgets anyone. I'll miss her.

  3. clapping, you forgot to mention the clapping, my favorite.
    taking our Jacks down to Black Bear on bikes, and Carma prancing around the mud puddles, and Denali wading in, and laying down -full tomboy -tongue hanging and whiskers in the water.
    When Mom & I put gel and bows in her hair, and ruffled socks on her feet, took a picture to send to you to make you come home faster.

  4. Can't believe I forgot clapping! I was just trying to teach her how to stand up on her back legs and in order to keep her balance she started clapping. So "stand up" turned into "clap"

  5. Oh, Tristan, I'm so sorry! I'll never forget one of the first times I met Denali when she spent the night at our apartment. In the middle of the night, my bedroom door opened (it never latched shut), and I sat straight up in bed and saw her big eyes. I have to admit, it freaked me out a little bit! I guess she was still figuring out her way around our place. It didn't take me long to figure out how cool Denali was, though, and I always looked forward to seeing her when we visited you guys. She'll be missed - she was really special.

  6. Emily5:51 PM

    I witnessed Denali's Baconfest (it was Alison). One piece would have done it but Alison couldn't stop herself. Denali was just so happy eating that raw bacon. She was also an amazing wingman for you and I'm sure Terri fell prey to her charms! I also loved watching her and Kate play together - that photo of both of them as puppies is adorable. She'll be missed in Seattle - that's for sure!

  7. Adam and Megan10:02 PM

    Well, as we sit here reading and looking at the pictures, megan sniffling over my shoulder, we're discussing how lucky we were to have spent such amazing times with Denali. One funny memory was when we were all backpacking up on the North shore of Lake Superior and you and Terri were behind us a ways. Denali was leading until she walked off the footbridge. Scared us all, but what a trooper for continuing to lead! We'll miss her as well, but know she is having fun catching frisbees!!!

  8. Oh I'm so sorry about Denali...that was the brave thing to do, and I do like imagining her healthy and happy and shaking frisbees, balls, rope, whatever in her mouth as much as she wants! Sending your family lots of love and hugs.

  9. We will always remember her palling around with our pack, never discouraged at all by the unfamiliar surroundings and numerous creatures. She made herself at home at Camp Timber Lakes, and was always a welcome guest, whether chowing down with the girls or flinging sock monkey into the ceiling fan. We will miss her.